The Art of Reading: Boston Latin Academy Book Club Visits Gardner Museum

Guest post by Sophomore Caroline Mayer, BLA Book Club President.  Caroline wrote this after the Book Club’s October 17th field trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Article was submitted by BLA Librarian & Book Club Advisor Molly Lewis.

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Isabella Stewart Gardner Painting by John Singer Sargent

The Isabella Steward Gardner Museum is a gorgeous and beautiful place that offers insight into many different cultures, religions, and places around the world. The artwork was put in certain rooms based on the themes within that room. Although the museum is big and may appear to be quite eerie, the experience was warm and welcoming. We got to see a fine painting of Queen Marye I, Queen of England by Antonis Mor, where she was dressed to the nines and looking very royal. Our tour guide showed us the frames of the paintings that were stolen in the Gardner heist of 1990. Not only did we see these but we got to go and see an elegant painting of Mrs. Gardner, painted by her friend John Singer Sargent. In the painting she is standing straight ahead with an innocent look on her face; she wore a basic pearl necklace as well as a string of pearls around her tiny waist. The dress she was wearing was a long black and well-fitting dress that accentuated her hourglass figure. Surprisingly, this was the most controversial picture of the time it was made because it showed Mrs. Gardner with what is supposed to be a crown or halo around her, but Mrs. Gardner was not a Queen or Saint. Mrs. Gardner was definitely a woman of taste though, with how she arranged her whole museum. The entire place has an aura that shows Mrs. Gardner’s personality and tastes that speaks to whomever enters her museum. Since we went to the museum, the book club will now read books on Isabella Stewart Gardner or the Heist that occurred in 1990.

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